Combating Obesity Part 2: Exercise
Last week, we looked at how our diets sometimes lead us straight to obesity, and we highlighted some San Diego-based organizations that are looking to buck the trend.
Today, I’d like to focus on a second major cause of obesity: Inactivity
According to the World Health Organization, approximately 15 percent of adults over the age of 15 were “insufficiently active” in 2008. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) backs up these claims, adding that inactivity can directly lead to health complications such as obesity and type 2 diabetes. Our children are at a similar risk. In the past 30 years, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents, according to the CDC.
In many cases, we realize that inactivity can cause these problems, yet we continue to live sedentary lifestyles, choosing the couch over the hiking trail or the TV over the treadmill. Even worse, the longer you wait to kick your inactive lifestyle, the harder it will become to get active and to start a walking or exercise routine, and you’ll have to check with your doctor beforehand to make sure your chosen regimen will be safe for you.
But getting started is not impossible, and there are plenty of people and organizations right here in San Diego that will help!
Community Health Improvement Partners (CHIP) launched the San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative, a public-private partnership which aims to prevent childhood obesity through policy, systems, and environmental change. In addition, CHIP oversees the Lemon Grove Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Zone, a collaborative of Lemon Grove residents and organizational representatives working to build a city where people eat better and move more as a part of daily life.
San Diego County’s Outdoor Outreach strives for a similar goal. As the only nonprofit in San Diego to utilize outdoor physical experiences and one-on-one academic and social supports, Outdoor Outreach impacts our youth in a remarkable way. With Outdoor Outreach, the area’s youth can be exposed to physically challenging activities such as surfing, biking, and rock climbing. These outings show children the fun and excitement of getting out and getting active, inspiring them to take on new physical challenges in their everyday lives.
Along with Outdoor Outreach, San Diego Youth Services (SDYS) benefits our area’s youth by offering Yoga and Zumba Classes and by delivering healthy food options via their own Farmers’ Market. They also sponsor a program called “Street Yoga,” which teaches the benefits of yoga for vulnerable populations and which offers a “practice in teaching yoga and mindfulness to youth and families struggling with homelessness, poverty, abuse, addiction, trauma, and neurological and psychiatric issues.”
In Imperial County, The Family Treehouse serves community families with children aged 0 to 6, addressing issues related to maternal and child health. As part of their curriculum, The Family Treehouse teaches nutrition and encourages families and their children to lead active, healthy lives. Inside their facility, children can enjoy a variety of toys which promote activity, such as climbing structures and slides.
With organizations and programs like these, the resources to combat obesity in San Diego are in place for all ages, but it’s important to note: change begins with you! Once you make getting healthier a priority (and it is incredibly hard to change your habits; I know!) you will reap the benefits in all areas of your life. Not only will you lose weight, you’ll gain a boost of energy, and you’ll be more motivated to achieve your goals and to inspire change in your community.
Those are adjustments I think we can all get behind!
Remember to build a network of likeminded individuals, too, and consider using an app like MakeMe which will help you and your friends chart your progress. With this, you’ll stay on track, and you can always be there for each other if anybody starts to slip up or stray off the path. Together, we can make a change.
Together, we can make rocketing obesity statistics a thing of the past.
Leave a comment and we’ll discuss.
-Nancy Sasaki, Executive Director
Allaince Healthcare Foundation
About Alliance Healthcare Foundation
Alliance Healthcare Foundation is a San Diego-based nonprofit which works with nonprofit, government and community agencies to advance health and wellness throughout the San Diego and Imperial Counties. AHF works to serve the most vulnerable – the poor, working poor, children and homeless by providing grants, advocacy and education to support its region.
To learn more about our grantees visit here: AHF’s Grantee Page